A K-pop star apparently didn't get the April 1 memo. As governments across the globe went so far as to issue warnings against pulling coronavirus-related April Fools' Day jokes, the singer Jaejoong from the K-pop group JYJ told his 1.9 million fans on Instagram he'd been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was in the hospital; he offered an apology to those he could have infected "because I lived carelessly, disregarding all of the cautions provided by the government and those around me." Though the 34-year-old admitted it was a prank before even an hour had passed, the New York Times reports his announcement—which would have made him one of South Korea's biggest celebrities to get hit with the virus—was picked up by the media.
Fans, unsurprisingly, weren't pleased to find it has all been a joke. Per a translation picked up by Forbes, Jaejoong acknowledged that "this did go quite far for April Fool's Day, so many people worried about me in a short span of time." The translation further indicates he tried to play it off as an educational post. It quotes him as writing: "Oh and I don't think of this as an April Fool's joke. My family and my friends are getting sick..and dying..it's never !! just someone else's problem. I wanted to tell you that protecting myself is protecting the precious people around us." Jaejoong said he would "accept all punishment I receive from this post." He subsequently deactivated his Instagram account, though it's now back online, sans the April Fools' post. (Read more coronavirus stories.)